How to Sharpen Your Creative Edge

Everyone wants to be creative but many people lack confidence and feel stuck in the old routine. The good news is, absolutely anyone can do it. It’s just a matter of fostering the right conditions to keep your creative edge sharp.

Stay Hungry! Keep Experimenting!

Stay hungry is one of Arnold’s famous sayings when it comes to success. Schwarzenegger traveled an extraordinary road, lined with abundant triumphs, any one of which might have satisfied a more modest appetite. As an athlete, he was named “Mr. Olympia” a record six times, becoming the fitness tsar. As an actor, he became an internationally recognized action hero who created one of the most memorable characters in film history – “The Terminator.” As a businessman, he combined instinct, risk-taking, and relentless salesmanship to accumulate a financial portfolio. As a politician, he was twice elected governor of California. You do not put this assortment of trophies on your mantle unless you are smart, flexible, seriously focused, and manically driven. Read Arnold Schwarzenegger 6 Rules for Success in my previous post.

Pablo Picasso was trailblazing artist who experimented and innovated during his 92-plus years on earth. His work matured from the naturalism of his childhood through Cubism, Surrealism and beyond, shaping the direction of modern and contemporary art through the decades. Even though he’s known for cubism, he has never boxed himself in. Allowing himself to reinvent himself, his art reflected his state of mind – Blue Period, Rose Period, African Influence, Analytic Cubism, Synthetic Cubism, Neoclassicism and Surrealism.

Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder being called the Thomas Edison of his time, echoed Arnold in his commencement speech at Stanford University, saying Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. Eluding to the fact that he would not have achieved such creativity and innovation having a fear to fail. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life because almost everything all external expectations all pride all fear of embarrassment or failure these things just fall away in the face of death leaving only what is truly important remembering – Steve Jobs.

Billion-Dollar Creative

I came across David Margolis, author of The Billion-Dollar Creative: Inspiring Insights for Unleashing Your Creativity and Achieving Higher Levels of Success. He shares winning ideas on how to sharpen your creative edge.

Keep idea generation a habit
Commit to surfacing one idea every day. It will build your creativity muscle, just like a daily routine of going to the gym. “You need to come up with hundreds and hundreds of ideas.”

Practice your pitch
It’s not enough to run through a creative presentation in your mind. Get on stage or in front of the room where you will deliver your pitch and act it out. “When you actually start simulating, you feed the brain so much more information than visualizing” Margolis says.

Get in Flow State
“If you want to… come up with some innovative solutions, you might need two to three hours of peace and quiet literally just sitting there waiting for inspiration to strike,” he says. “It could take 45 minutes, it could take an hour to slip into that creative zone, that flow state.”

Push through blocks
Flow–a zone of productivity and creativity that seemingly comes out of thin air–is a much sought-after condition. But you won’t have it every day, meaning you’ll need to push yourself through blocks instead of wallowing in frustration.

Ask “what if” questions
Asking who, what, when, where, and why is a good exercise for delineating a situation, but if you want to move outside the box, ask “what if” questions instead. For example, try looking at the question of how you will create your next artwork differently or better.

Avoid Deadlines
Many people believe having a deadline forces them to be more creative, but the best ideas actually come during periods of relaxation. So the next time you have to deliver fresh results on a big project, get started right away to give yourself plenty of room to expand your thinking along the way.

Be prepared to make revisions
Your first idea likely won’t be your best. In fact, brilliant work often results from much tweaking, redoing, and going back to the drawing board. “Creative projects are full of back and forth.”
As creatives, staying hangry and experimenting is the best way to keep your creative edge sharp!

As creatives, staying hangry and experimenting is the best way to keep your creative edge sharp! Share your creative sources and triggers. Who or what sharpens your creative edge? Comment below.

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